Ok, folks, here goes the game in which you, my fellow diners, decide which trend is a Restaurant Classic or a Restaurant Cliché. As usual, I’ll add be adding my own two cents, but please join me in the comments section below. Alternately, you can send your highly opinionated rants to me on the Eaterline. Are you ready to play (and are your buzzers gripped in your sweaty little fists)? Let’s call out: Restaurant Classic or Restaurant Cliché!
Molten Chocolate Cake: Restaurant Cliché! I don’t care how freaking delicious warm cake batter is, or how wonderfully sexy you feel it is when brown goo oozes—all Freshen Up Gum-like—from a tiny cake, when you start seeing the same dish in Dubai and Chengdu, it’s time to give that sucker a rest.
Tuna Tartare: Restaurant Classic! Here’s the thing. I’ve spotted this inscrutable sentence posted in the private office of a well-known restaurant in our region: “The Hookers Love Tuna Tartare.” The restaurant’s owner later explained its meaning. Apparently, the well heeled, moisturized, and taut second wives of his wealthy clientele endlessly crave the carb-free lusciousness of tuna tartare. Apparently, these ladies chug tuna tartare by the truckload, glug-glug-glug. Who knew? Painfully, a few weeks later as I was privately enjoying the intense sensual pleasure of eating silky tuna tartare, I happened to catch the eyes of this same restaurateur. Zap! In that instant, we both knew that, a) I was a hooker, and, b) that tuna tartare is freaking delicious.
Edison Bulbs: Restaurant Cliché! Earlier this year, I did a favor for a pregnant lady and performed six tough months as a restaurant critic for The Bergen Record. Folks, I’m saying that about 60 percent of those restaurants featured Edison bulbs, so, at that point, we’ve got to give up the Beatification of The Bulb.
Chalkboard Menus: Restaurant Classic! When you have a quickly changing menu and you don’t want print, reprint, and then print again those daily tweaks, just chalk ’em in on a board. Plus, some restaurants really exploit the creative possibilities of a chalkboard. Check out the cool drawings and cartoons on the chalkboard at Restaurant North.
Martinis: Restaurant Classic (With Caveats)! Excepting the variables in call brands, there are exactly three types of martini: dry, gin, and dirty. If you want to get all loosey-goosey and liberal, I will allow a vodka martini. However, all the other -ini drinks are definitely clichés. Purpletini, it’s time to go away.
“Hi My Name Is” Service: Cliché! Once a point of service—oh, say, having your waiter introduce herself/himself by name—has been printed in the training manual of national chain, it’s ovah! And, folks: I eat out a lot and I have never called a waiter (that I wasn’t previously acquainted with) by name.
This concludes this week’s game of Restaurant Classic or Restaurant Cliché! But I’m always up for more—tell me your own Restaurant Classics and Clichés in the comments section below. And, as always, you can send me private emails on the Eaterline. Folks, I’m writing a book and am trapped at my desk—I welcome all nutty late night emails. The nuttier the better.
- Partner Content -
Cooktoberfest: The Cookery at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
October 21, 7:30-10:30
To purchase tickets, go here
From the announcement: “It’s that time of year again! The Cookery would like to take the opportunity to use Oktoberfest as an excuse to host another culinary debacle with Captain Lawrence. This year is going to be even nastier than last year. The Cookery’s DoughNation will be slinging pies outside while glistening carnage awaits in the brewery. Carbonated amber colored refreshments will flow like a river from the shiny taps of CLBC tasting room and, of course, serious live music! Turn to the dark side and join us once again!”
Movie Premiere: Baron Ambrosia Is Dead
November 2, 7 pm
Event is free and open to the public
Yes, folks, you might know that Baron Ambrosia (with whom we have romped through Yonkers for Westchester Magazine) is one of our most prized partners in crime. Oh, we get together and drink, feast, and get up to all manner of criminal activity and it all started right here with an open fan letter. Finally, after all these years, I weaseled into one of Baron Ambrosia’s movies—but only after permitting the father of my child to accompany the Baron on a swim down the length of the polluted Bronx River. You can catch yours truly in the funeral scene of the Baron’s newest full-length movie, Baron Ambrosia is Dead. Don’t miss it: there will be food and drink and me, in costume, mourning our dead hero. Andrew Freeman Home, Grand Concourse 166th Street, Bronx, New York.
Tiradito Ceviche at Patrias in New Rochelle
You might remember Patrias in Port Chester, an honest-to-God tapas bar snuck right onto Main Street? Well, Patrias in Port Chester has closed, but now you can check out Chef Mariano Aznar’s newest iteration of Patrias in New Rochelle (14 Lawton Street, 914. 278-9811). Patrias in New Rochelle has not yet received its liquor license, but wine will soon flow in this chic, understated boite that’s located a short walk from New Rochelle’s other beloved tapas bar, the Gnarly Vine. We dropped into Patrias last week for a few tapas and—though everything was delicious—the winner was this silky tiradito: cool salmon ceviche with aji amarillo and potatoes Huacaino style.